Types of dilemmas
The types of dilemma can be represented in the form of a table
Simple Constructive Dilemma
In a simple constructive dilemma (SCD), both hypothetical propositions have common consequents, though antecedents differ. These antecedents are affirmed disjunctively in second premise and consequent is affirmed in the conclusion. Since there is only one consequent the conclusion is a simple proposition. The structure of this kind can be represented as follows:
Complex Constructive Dilemma
In a complex constructive dilemma (CCD) the antecedents and consequents vary. In second premise the antecedents are affirmed disjunctively and in the conclusion the consequents are affirmed in similar fashion. This description can be represented in this way:Simple Destructive Dilemma
The structure of simple destructive dilemma (SDD) differs slightly from the second kind. In this type, also the conclusion is a simple proposition, but negative. The second premise has structure similar to that of p2 of CDD. The form of SDD is as follows:
Complex Destructive Dilemma
The structure of complex destructive dilemma (CDD) differs slightly from the first kind. The difference is that the disjunctive propositions in premise and conclusion negate disjunctively the components of respective propositions. However, the structure of the other premise remains the same. The form of CDD is mentioned below:
There are three different ways in which we can try to avoid dilemma. All these ways only reflect escapist tendency. Therefore, in logical sense, they do not carry much weight.
- Escaping between the horns of dilemma: Two consequents mentioned may be incomplete. If it is possible to show that they are incomplete, we can avoid facing dilemma. This is what known as ‘escaping between the horns of dilemma’. It should be noted that even when third consequent is suggested it does not mean that this new consequent is actually true. In other words, the new consequent also is hypothetical.
- Taking the dilemma by horns: In this method of avoiding dilemma, attempts are made to contradict the hypothetical propositions, which are conjoined. A hypothetical proposition is contradicted when antecedent and negation of consequent are accepted. However, in this case this particular acceptance is missing. Instead, third component is offered to shield the antecedent after denying the consequent. Therefore contradiction is missing.
- Rebuttal of dilemma appears to be its contradiction. But, in reality, it is not. In all these cases, the dilemma becomes a potent weapon to mislead the opponent in debate.